Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Insignificance of Governments and Armies

Isaiah 40:15,17

Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket,
And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales;
Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust...
All the nations are as nothing before Him,
They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.

Though all governments are premised on mistrust of God (as we saw in the previous blog), and though they are all ruled by Satan, the "lord of this world" and the "god of this age" (Lk 4:5-7; Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4), God nevertheless uses their sword wielding violent tendencies to achieve certain objectives, including keeping as much law and order as possible (Rom. 13:1-6). Still, the passage we're looking at today reveals that God invests these governments with no significance. They are to him like a drop of water that disappears once dropped in the bucket and like a speck of dust that doesn't register on the scales. They are "nothing," "less than nothing" and "meaningless."

To belong to the Kingdom is to place all of our trust in this God. Part of living in the Kingdom, therefore, is to accept this perspective of all the nations, governments, politics and armies of the world. They are "less than nothing."

The fallen natural mind of course sees our trust as insane, impractical and probably irresponsible. The fallen natural mind instinctively believes that everything hangs on what politicians, governments, nations and armies do. This is why people with this fallen mindset grow anxious about who is getting elected, what policies are being put in place, what nation is gaining the upper hand and which army is growing the strongest. The fate of the nation and of the world hangs in the balance on such issues! We must do whatever it takes, using violence if necessary, to ensure that the "right" people get elected, the "right" policies are put in place, the "right" nation gets the upper hand and the "right" army grows the strongest.

The "right" ones, of course, always happen to be our own. And the bloody merri-go-round of history keeps spinning round and round.

This outlook is natural for fallen humans. But people with a Kingdom mindset know better. Our trust isn't in nations, governments, politics and armies, but in the God for whom all these things are an insignificant speck of dust. This is why a Kingdom person can enjoy "perfect peace" as their eyes are fixed on him (Isa 26:3).

This doesn't mean that Kingdom people are to simply resign themselves to whatever comes to pass in our nation and around the globe. To the contrary, we are called to be revolutionaries. Following the example of Jesus, we are to revolt against everything in our life, in society and around the world that is inconsistent with the will of God in the world.

But we aren't called to be revolutionaries by acting like pagans who pin their hope on resolving the endless problems of worldly politics the "right" way. We're to be revolutionaries by acting like Jesus who placed all of his trust in his Father -- for whom all the politics of the world are "less than nothing." This is why Jesus could refrain from using power available to him to crush his enemies in self defense and rather offer his life up in love for his enemies.

Of course this sacrifice -- like all Kingdom sacrifice -- looked insane, impractical and irresponsible from the perspective of the natural mind. But Jesus confidence in his Father paid off three days later. This launched the Kingdom revolution we are part of today, and we're called to advance it by living with this same sort of confidence in God and same sort of sacrificial love toward others, including all enemies.

Viva la revolution!